STORIES & FEEDBACK
- Published on Tuesday, 31 January 2012 16:24
Volunteering at Cape Town
Date: Summer 2011
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Working with children and working in teams aren’t something new to me, but I had fresh learning experiences in both areas when I volunteered in Cape Town. I helped to teach English and math to children who spoke little to no English and had difficulty focusing on schoolwork. The classroom was crowded and it was a challenge to keep the children under control.
In the beginning it was a frustrating experience, but it also trained me in different ways. I was reminded of the importance of not just getting lost in the process of doing work but also remembering the purpose behind that work; in my case, the real purpose was to help the kids feel there are people who care about them. I learned patience and persistence, to keep putting in my full effort to help these kids even when some did not appear they were making much progress. Team members also reminded me of common-sense advice on how to overcome communication barriers and keep the attention of wandering minds: use basic English and also project my voice.
Working in this team encouraged me to be a more supportive team member. The fact that we had a limited number of volunteers pushed me to take more initiative and ask others if they required assistance or if I could take on extra duties. I felt like more than just taking on extra work; it was fun to do things that I wouldn’t have otherwise done if I hadn’t asked to help. This is one thing I hope to keep on doing in the days to come!
Volunteering at Costa Rica
Date: Winter 2011
Location: Costa Rica, Central America
Hi, I’m Katy, and I’m a member of the U of T Love Your Neighbour Club. I had a chance to go to Costa Rica (Central America) this past Christmas break with a team of LYNC volunteers. During our trip, we visited an orphanage run by a local couple. Their home was filled with orphans of all ages happily playing together and working together to take care of each other and to do house chores. We found out that, behind all those happy smiles, were many, many sad stories. The lady who ran the orphanage, Doña Amelia, told us a few of their heartbreaking stories. I was touched to hear how she and her husband managed to not just nourish these unfortunate children’s bodies but also their hearts through their genuine love and care. Hearing their stories, I felt very blessed—whatever problems and difficulties I have seem so small compared to what these children have gone through. Regardless of our different backgrounds, I am happy that I was able to bring joy and warmth to another person’s life through my love and care. I realized that though these children have many physical needs, they also need more people like us who are willing to love and care for our neighbours from near and far all around the world.
Katy Lee Law
I went on a volunteer trip to Costa Rica for 2 weeks from December 2011 to January 2012. Not only did this trip widened my eye sight to see the different needs of this world but also demonstrated again the importance of volunteering and its rewards. Along with other volunteers, I helped local youth develop confidence and leadership. Throughout the two weeks, I was able to see their growth and improvement which reflected the impact of the work we were doing. Indeed, helping and caring for others, even people who were once complete strangers can give you a feeling of gladness and joy especially when you can see the benefits of your work first-hand.
We also had a chance to visit a local orphanage where we discovered many touching stories of children who have gone through very harsh experiences at an early age. Living in Canada, many times we take things for granted. I feel that everyone is fortunate in distinct ways and it is the willingness to help those who are less fortunate what makes a difference in this world.
Youth Settlement Worker